Category Archives: Akishima Shopping & Sights

Daruma Doll Festival-Haijimadaishi Temple

Looking for a fun New Year’s activity? Look no further than the Daruma Doll Festival, in nearby Akishima. A visit to a shrine, within the first few days of the new year, is  very important aspect of Japanese culture, known as hatsumode.
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The lines to get to the front of the shrine will be very long,  but we bypassed the line and had a great time wandering the festival. Daruma is a good luck doll for the upcoming year. You buy a new Daruma doll each year (there were many to choose from of all sizes), and color in one eye when you make your wish. If your wish comes true during the year, you color in the other eye.2015-01-02 13.57.15
You bring last year’s Daruma to throw in the fire, which is part of the Japanese approach to the new year, “out with the old, in with the new”.
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Also look for the kabura-ya, or arrow with a “turnip” shaped tip, for a fun souvenir. These are modeled after arrows that the samurai used, to attach messages to and shoot them into a fortress or other enclosure. Now, they are sold at Shinto shrines at the new year, as protection from evil spirits.
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Of course, as with all Japanese festivals, there will also be FOOD! There were many vendor stalls set up selling your favorite Japanese street food; yakisoba, yakiniku, takoyaki, etc.2015-01-02 13.50.28

The festival is held at the Haijima Daishi temple every year on January 2nd and 3rd. Parking is extremely limited. The website recommends taking the train, closest station is Akishima station (which is the Moritown station), then it is about a 20 minute walk from Akishima station. Jamie Cowan, December 2015

Hours: 0900-1600, January 2nd and 3rd.
GPS to the shrine: 35.7056997,139.3449119

Fukubukuro- New Year’s “lucky bags”

2015-01-01 08.09.13New Year’s Day is the most important Japanese holiday, where many “firsts” are celebrated. Some of these special firsts include; first prayer, first sunrise, and first …SALE! The Japanese phenomenon known as fukubukuro, (orlucky/happy bag”), entails heading to a store on January 1-3 and buying a bag with unknown contents for a set price. The only guarantee is that the bag will be worth more than you paid, sometimes several times more, but it’s a gamble.

If you are a risk taker at heart, you will love this custom! Some stores show the contents of the bags, but most do not, it’s a complete surprise. Opening your lucky bag has all the anticipation of Christmas morning, and possibly some of the disappointment. Was it money well spent, or not?2015-01-02 08.49.17-1

For example, I spent Y3000 for this bag at a kitchen wares store, and this was its contents; a  small roasting pan with rack, frying pan, spatula, “pig” microwave lid, utensil holder, and two fish shaped kitchen sponges. This bag was definitely worth more than what I paid.


Head to your nearest mall, specialty store or grocery store January 1-3, to join in the fun. But, beware, if you don’t act fast you’ll miss your chance! Lucky bags are only around while supplies last. Jamie Cowan, December  2015

MoriPark Outdoor Village

MoriParkNear Akishima Station, only a 5 minute drive out the East Gate, is a huge “Outdoor Village” where you will find shops, food, and outdoorsy activities. Take a right out the East Gate and head towards MoriTown Mall.

Shops include Jack Wolfskin, Columbia, Mont-Bell, The North Face, Solomon, Coleman, Mountain Hardware and more. Many of the shops have boutique restaurants serving coffee and lunch.

There’s a giant rock climbing wall and a small man-made pond where people were testing out kayaks. And there were tents set up everywhere, for people to crawl around in. When I was there on a Saturday, there was a giant “convention center”-like space that had an open market, with local vendors selling fruits and vegetables. There were children driving around miniature Segways.

MoriPark2The website for the outdoor village is: The hours are 11:00-20:00 on weekdays and 10:00-20:00 on weekends. GPS: 35.716617, 139.361475. It’s right next to the Harley Davidson Shop. There was parking nearby, you may have to pay.

I wasn’t able to do a ton of research, but there was a place called Play (a part of the village), which has an indoor and outdoor climbing gym, and yoga studio. The phone number is 042-541-3223. Please share any information you might have in the comments below. Michelle Nexon, July 2015.

Aroma Company

One of my friends referred me to Asayo at the Aroma Company. It is located less than 5 minutes from the supply gate and they offer many types of body treatments and services. You may have seen an ad on YokotaAds also for them. I received a basic facial which lasted an hour. Included was shoulder massage, foot massage and scalp massage on top of the facial treatment. She can perform ion treatment, abrasion, etc. She also offers oil massage, hot stone, body wraps and body scrubs for a very reasonable price. The facial was $35 and she accepts yen OR USD. It was a lovely experience and I will definitely go back again (and again and again)!  Reach them by email:

DIRECTIONS: Upon leaving the Fussa Gate, turn left on Route 16 and stay in the left lane.  Proceed straight for three traffic lights (1.1 km) and you’ll pass the Supply Gate (Gate 5) on your left. Continue going straight and around the 2.0 km point there will be a Y-split and you’ll veer to the right following the blue sign that says “Hachioji”.  You’ll then cross over a bridge that goes over the railroad tracks and when・you get to the bottom of the bridge (2.5 Km), you’ll make a hard 135 degree left turn.  Pass the first traffic light and on the left corner will be a Lawson Convenience Store and about another 100 yards the road will make a 90 degree right turn.  Instead of following the road to the right, you’ll go straight for about 20 yards and turn left into a narrow road which goes to the left.  You’ll see a “P-sign” for 100 yen parking. Park here and she’ll reimburse you the fee. To get to the Aroma Company-Koubou shop, walk back to the Lawson Convenience Store.  At the Lawson intersection cross the street and immediately turn right and you’ll see a automatic glass door on the building in front of you.  Go into the building and go to the basement.  At the bottom you’ll see the entrance to the Aroma Company Koubou Shop. – Kelly Bull, February 2013

Cainz Home Center

Cainz 1Cainz 4Cainz 5Cainz is a big-box store that sells hardware, housewares, garden supplies, automotive accessories, sporting goods, even puppies. Some say it’s cheaper than Joyful Honda, but it seems to be a matter of personal preference. It has a tiny food court at the north end of the building. GPS: 35.7178, 139.3667.
DIRECTIONS: Turn right out of the East Gate (0km). Keep going straight, past a Family Mart on the right, across a set of train tracks (1.7km), past a golf course (2.1km), until you reach a used Toyota dealer and a traffic light at 2.6km. You’ll see Cainz on the far left corner. Turn left at the light and then right into the parking lot. Liz Ruskin, 2012. Photos Michelle Nexon, March 2014.

MoriTown Mall

This is a fairly large, American-style mall that’s a fav for Yokota shoppers. The shops are mostly Japanese, including the Japanese clothing chain Uniqlo, which has stylish, cheap clothing akin to the Gap. It also has a Disney Store, a Starbucks and other U.S. chains. There’s an indoor food court and many restaurants around the adjacent plaza, including KFC. It has a large parking garage. Take a card on the way in, then show it every time you buy something. Before you return to your car, feed the card into the machine by the elevator and pay what you owe. If you’ve bought lunch or any trinkets, you probably won’t owe anything. Then drive to the parking garage exit and deposit the card to lift the barrier. Liz Ruskin, 2012.
GPS: 35.7142, 139.3642
DIRECTIONS: Exit the East Gate and turn right. Keep going straight. At 3km you’ll reach the mall, on your right, clearly marked in English. But keep going straight. The parking garage entrance is on the right, at 3.2km. Look for a blue sign with a white “P.” TRAIN DIRECTIONS: From Fussa station, catch a train going toward Tachikawa. Get off at the third stop, Akishima. Exiting the station, you’ll see the Espa department store on your right, which is one of anchors of the mall.

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